On one level, it’s easy to summarize the Supreme Court’s about-face on the conflict between COVID-19 regulations and houses of worship. Before Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court twice upheld restrictions on religious gatherings. Afterward, the Court twice overturned them.
So, sure: Before Barrett, the churches lose, but after Barrett, the churches win.
Yet the inexplicably sloppy way in which the Court’s conservatives have written about these cases reveals something much more troubling: a seeming inability to separate legal and scientific reality from Christian nationalist conspiracy theories about the “war on religion.”